• a drawing of a teacher and students on zoom via a laptop

      Teaching on zoom (Photo – pixabay)

      As a retired teacher, I have spent the last two days on ZOOM meetings listening to over a hundred teachers in Pasadena talk about reopening Pasadena’s brick-and-mortar schools.

      By Pamela Casey Nagler

      Here’s my summary:

      Teachers are worried.

      Teachers worry about opening up before they have an opportunity to be fully-vaccinated.
      In Los Angeles County, vaccinations for teachers won’t start until March 1st. And the second dose needs to be administered 21 days after for Pfizer, and four weeks for Moderna. According to the CDC, on February 9, 2021, it typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19 – this means it is possible a person could still get COVID-19 just after vaccination.

      They are worried that even if they are fully-vaccinated, they may carry the virus home to family members who are not vaccinated.
      Many, themselves immune-compromised, live with people who are immune-compromised. They are also worried about contributing to community-spread.

      Many are worried about the new variant strains.
      Since these are new and mutating, they worry that the vaccinations may not provide immunity.

      They are worried about the recent uptick in MIS-C in Los Angeles County.
      MIS-C or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

      They are worried about ventilation issues in their classrooms.
      Many work in rooms with windows that are hermetically-sealed and cannot open. Others work in rooms that open, not to the outdoors, but to shared hallways. For energy-saving, many classrooms have been retro-fitted to share ducts with all the other classrooms in the building, so they worry about sharing air with multiple classrooms.

      Many teachers are worried about working with students who are non-compliant with the basic mitigations of mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand-washing.

      They are also worried about working with students who come from families that are non-compliant.
      While many teachers have placed themselves in strict isolation, they realize that some of their students and their families have not put themselves in isolation. They routinely hear from their students that they travel, have sleepovers and parties. They know some of their students’ families are anti-maskers who think COVID-19 is a hoax. They worry about families sending their sick kids to school.

      They worry about whether there will be sufficient PPE for themselves and their students. They worry about bathroom breaks, nutrition breaks, water breaks. 

      They worry about if there are a sufficient number of substitutes, and they wonder what quarantining will look like.

      They worry if there will be sufficient wraparound staff – nurses, counselors, custodians to support their students in the classroom.

      They worry whether schools have the sufficient infrastructure for good reporting and contact tracing. 

      Many teachers wonder how they will juggle it all.
      Some teachers are being asked to teach simultaneously the students in their classrooms in front of them as well as the students at home through ZOOM. The logistics of such a task is mind-boggling.

      Many teachers worry that their Districts will not supply what they need.
      Many teachers routinely pay out of pocket for things like sound systems for their classrooms, as well as supplies and food for their students. This is not philanthropy, this is survival. Teaching is hard work and they supply themselves and their students with what is necessary to make it all work. 

      Among other things, teachers worry that the public does not fully comprehend that the return to the physical classroom will not be a return to ‘normal.’
      They wonder if students and their families are sufficiently prepared to enter the highly-regimented, very choreographed class with strict rules and protocols as well as repercussions for breaking the rules.

      Pamela Casey Nagler taught for twenty years at Montclair High School, a mega-public school on the edge of San Bernardino and LA County.

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      1. allen gillespie says:

        This is teacher union misinformation. Covid immunity becomes substantial within 7 – 10 days after the initial shot. During the large Phase three trials, nobody died from covid (out of tens of thousands of people, from Covid occuring after day 10. Come on teachers, give science a break.

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